Photographer & Mental Health Advocate

Anxiety Awareness

Wear Your Label (mental health clothing line

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Have you ever felt lost that it shakes you to your core; that every thing that once felt so similar, in that moment, feels threatening and unfamiliar? Have you felt your heart beat so fast that you thought it would rip out from within your chest? Have you ever felt all your emotions at once that all you can do is cry?

That's how it feels for me everyday when I am having an anxiety attack. Previously, I wrote about my generalized anxiety story and the struggles that I went through as a child and throughout my teenage years dealing with anxiety on my own. I wrote a lot about not having anyone to talk to and how lonely I felt in the world because no one else could understand what was going on with me, let alone myself. My younger years were in fact years that I questioned a lot about life and if it was worth fighting for.

Thankfully, I had my mother's intelligence and a heart of a lion that I researched and prayed to all the God's that I knew names for and tried to see the goodness in life,  which I believe was the reason I never gave up on myself. A few years later into the future and a lot more information from my own research, doctor's diagnosis's and therapy, I am still fighting with my GAD (generalized anxiety disorder),. 

That's what a lot of people think about those of us who suffer from mental disorders, that it's easily cured and we could go back to living life the way it was before. But what people don't realize is that, our lives will NEVER be the same and for most of us, our anxiety has been apart of our lives for so long that we cannot remember a life without it. 

A few weeks back, I was lucky enough to stumble upon a clothing brand that raises awareness for mental health. Wear Your Label is a conscious clothing brand, with information that is helping end the stigma with styles for women and men. Most of the clothes are unisex which is an amazing thing on their part and they also have bracelets with the colors of each disorder. What tops this off is that both the owner (Kyle MacNevin) and co-owner (Kayley Reed), are young adults who have a mental illness ( you can read more about who them are here.) They decided to open up about their own experiences and show the world that it's time to take action and raise awareness, so they created Wear Your Label

Instantly I felt a sense of weight lifting off of me, it made me cry to know that there are people out there fighting for us, to give us the voice that has been taken away from us by the stigma surrounding mental disorders. I just knew that I had to collaborate with them to show my followers of my social media platforms ( love you all btw <3 ), family and friends that there are others like me who are making this their dream to spread awareness. It was truly wonderful to see Kayley's email on my account, reading that they wanted to collaborate with me as well.  I received a bright light blue muscle tee that read "struggle, strength" intertwined with each other (find it here), a conversation starter card about mental health, a wonderfully thought out letter (Thanks guys so much!) and a cute teal colored bracelet for anxiety awareness (which you can get here.) 

The tee is so SOFT and fashionable, I paired it with my jean shorts, classic white Keds and some gold jewelry to match the bracelet that I am so in love with. At first I didn't know how I should take these photos because people always see negative images when people are talking about mental illness. But, because Kyle and Kayley want to show the world that we are happy, beautiful people, I decided to strut my stuff and show the world that I love BOTH my struggles and my strengths. 

I've always felt left out, like I could never fit in with any clique of people because of my GAD. And I know it sounds crazy but this little bracelet has so much meaning to me, it shows that I am not afraid to tell the world that I have a mental disorder, that I am willing to talk and educate people. It makes me feel like I am apart of a huge worldwide clique of people who are helping spread the word, who are compassionate and kind!

The conversation card that I received is brilliant. Not only does it make it easy for people to bring it up in conversation, its well crafted and so cute. It's positive as well as informative. and can definitely help others speak up. ( Wear Your Label is  based in Canada so their statistics are a bit different than ours but not as much. In America, 1 in 4 people have mental illness.)

And just because we have an illness does not mean we do not love life. I have to say in my opinion, we are the most kindest and caring people you'll ever meet. Of course we are a bit more shy (at least I am) but once you get to know us, you'll see our hearts shine through. I like to call myself a fighter because each day is a struggle, there is no denying that BUT i'm a blessed fighter because though I struggle, I see the beauty in this world and the goodness that live within all of us. I wear my label with pride because I am not afraid.  

Until then,

xoxo Jacklyn